Mexico City Aztecas
|Leagues||Continental Basketball Association|
|Founded||1982 (as Detroit Spirits)|
|Arena||Palacio de los Deportes|
|Location||Mexico City, Mexico|
|Head coach||Mack Calvin|
The Mexico City Aztecas (or Mexico City Aztecs, Aztecas de México) team was an experiment by the Continental Basketball Association in fielding a team outside the United States and Canada. It played one season, the 1994-95 season.
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the Western Hemisphere, with significant fan interest in basketball. In 1994, the owner of the Fargo-Moorhead Fever, Doug Logan, decided to move his team there. Population of the metropolitan region of the new location was about 95 times that of the old site (1990 figures). In earlier incarnations the Aztecas had played as the Detroit Spirits (1982/83 to 1985/86), the Savannah Spirits (1986/87 to 1987/88), the Tulsa Fast Breakers (1988/89 to 1990/91) and the Tulsa Zone (1991/92).
The Aztecas played their home games at the Palacio de los Deportes (Sports Palace), where they were supported by a popular cheerleading squad. This was the same facility in which the United States basketball team won the gold medal in the 1968 Olympics. Mack Calvin was named the new head coach and general manager. The Aztecas opened their season on November 18, 1994 at the Oklahoma City Cavalry. Two days later, they went on to delight their fans with a 90-88 win over the Chicago Rockers in their first home game. Attendance at the Palacio was 8,295.
During the season, the Aztecas produced at least two NBA call-ups, Steve Henson in early November and Greg Grant in 1995. On February 10, 1995, the team lost 159-154 to the Tri City Chinook of Washington State in double overtime. This was perhaps the greatest population disparity for a game in North American sports history, more than 97:1 (1990 figures).
Overall, the Aztecas' home attendance was unheard of for the CBA, with several announced crowds over 9,000. In their final home game of the season, they beat the Omaha Racers 124-109 before 12,587 fans, an all-time record for the CBA. They finished the season at 19-37, out of the playoffs.
In spite of the attendance marks, the team took a financial blow from the crash of the Mexican peso in December 1994. Overnight, the peso lost half of its value against the U.S. dollar. More than one million Mexicans lost their jobs in the recession that followed. Most of the Aztecas' expenses, primarily player salaries, were in U.S. dollars, but revenues, including ticket sales, were in the now devalued peso. Logan could not afford another season in Mexico. On September 20, 1995, the Aztecas announced their move to San Diego, as the San Diego Wildcards. They played one more season there (1995/96), and then folded.
- Dexter Boney
- Mark Boyd
- James Carter
- Derrick Chandler
- Joe Courtney
- Greg Grant
- Al Hamilton
- Kermit Holmes
- Steve Henson
- Byron Irvin
- Ryan Lothridge
- Lee Montgomery
- Jimmy Oliver
- Stan Rose
- Scott Paddock
- Leonard White
- Fred Vinson